From the back cover: It began with THE LOST YEARS: the story of what happened to Captain Kirk and the legendary crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise when their original five-year mission ended. The saga continued in A FLAG FULL OF STARS and TRAITOR WINDS. Now, in RECOVERY, J.M. Dillard brings to an end one of the most exciting chapters in Star Trek history!
Admiral James T. Kirk, former Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise and now Chief of Starfleet Operations, is at a crossroads in his career. When he is assigned to supervise the testing of the U.S.S. Recovery, an experimental new rescue vessel, he begins to realize how tired he is of being trapped behind a desk, away from the action. Fully automated, the Recovery is a high-speed transport vessel capable of evacuating large populations without risking the lives of Starfleet personnel. But when its creator falls under alien influence, the Recovery becomes a pawn in a deadly game that could lead to interstellar war.
Trapped in the bowels of the ship is Admiral Kirk's old friend, Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, who is being hunted by a homicidal madman determined that no one on the ship will survive. Taking command of a starship, Admiral Kirk must find a way to save Dr. McCoy's life - and save the galaxy from deadly chaos!
Dissatisfied with his desk job and grieving his failed marriage to Admiral Lori Ciana, Kirk confronts Admiral Nogura about the "adventure" promised as part of his promotion. Nogura sends Kirk and Riley to observe the final test flight of the USS Recovery, a fully automated prototype transport vessel that is equipped to evacuate large planetary populations without endangering a starship and its crew. Fearing another M5 disaster, Kirk is wary of the ambitious project, having voiced many concerns about the ship early in its development, but agrees to the assignment. Under the watch of the crews of the USS Starhawk, USS Paladin, Klingon, Romulan, and Tholian representative vessels, and Kirk and Riley, the Recovery is sent to retrieve 200 scientists from Zotos IV. Despite not needing a crew, the Recovery also carries nearly 100 civilian observers from the Federation Disaster Relief Agency, including Dr. Leonard McCoy, his old friend and mentor Dr. Angelina Mola, and the Recovery's designer, Myron Shulman.
On Vulcan, Ambassador Sarek refuses to take leave of Spock as part of his son's attainment of Kolinahr. He no longer sees logic in Spock's denial of his human heritage. Spock also finds difficulty in fully purging his emotional attachments to Sarek, Kirk, and McCoy, sensing that his old friends are in trouble and remembering the Enterprise's encounter with the Tholians years earlier. He seeks to finally purge his feelings by meditating in the ancient temple of Sekhet, a pre-Surakian warrior goddess, though he is not entirely successful. Sarek, meanwhile, attends the Recovery test as liaison to the foreign observers.
The Starhawk's Captain Zhanya Akhmatova asks Kirk's opinion about accepting a promotion to the admiralty, a choice she will soon face herself. Now even more disgruntled, Kirk convinces the Paladin's Captain Baldassare Romolo to visit his old friend, Akhmatova, leaving XO Ruth Pulver in charge, with Kirk beside her. They oversee a ship largely manned by cadets, including gifted engineer Josiah Ngo and communications trainee (and Kirk worshiper) Reese Diksen. Riley tries to avoid his ex-wife, Starhawk security officer Lt Anab Saed, but ends up stuck working closely with her through the entire operation.
The mission's first stage - the straightforward Zotos IV evacuation - is a complete and impressive success; all 200 scientists are beamed aboard simultaneously and those requiring medical attention are delivered to the ship's many sickbays. The second stage - the rescue of one shuttle mock-attacked by another - is also successful, though Riley loses his focus at a critical moment and is injured, and he, Anab, and Ngo are beamed aboard the Recovery for their protection. The third stage involves a mock attack on the Recovery itself using remote-controlled drones. Without warning, Kirk changes the parameters of this test - directing some aggressive drones to attack and then use their "innocent" sibling drones for cover. Shulman curses Kirk, still holding a grudge for the admiral's opposition, and loses control, running amok through the ship. Recovery reacts poorly to Kirk's unexpected tactics and challenges, targeting the starships that launched the drones before turning on the alien observer craft. The Starhawk is disabled and the Paladin is heavily damaged; Romolo, Pulver, and many others are killed. Kirk takes command of the Paladin and makes science officer Sonak his acting XO.
The Recovery heads toward Tholian space. Onboard, Shulman begins murdering the top FDRA officials; Dr Mola is critically wounded and put into stasis, surviving the rampage. Riley and Anab try to track and capture Shulman while Ngo and McCoy try to use the medical computers to establish contact with the Paladin. Neither team has initial success, but they do find Shulman's technical notes covered in unknown alien text. Riley talks to Recovery's computer, convincing it to remember its base programming and preserve life at all costs, even though its creator is the one doing all the killing. This proves critical moments later when the computer stops Shulman from killing Riley and enabling the passengers to capture the madman. Ngo realizes that the alien code is not binary but trinary and McCoy's questioning of Shulman reveals that the Tholians have been using a mind-control device on him.
Commander Lokara of the Tholian cruiser Skotha offers to assist the Paladin in disabling the Recovery, though he is actually the mastermind behind the whole incident. Years earlier, Lokara and its mates (who form a triad) were aboard the Tholian vessel that intercepted the Enterprise. The group's breeder, Lanra, was critically injured, thus destroying any chance the triad had of fulfilling the Tholians' greatest social and biological imperative - to reproduce. Lokara and Srillk plotted their revenge by implanting a mental adjunct in Shulman's mind. He is forced to rewrite the ship's code, driving it berserk and flying it into Tholian space, where it will be captured and plundered for its technological advances. Just as Kirk agrees to accept Lokara's offer, Ngo is able to establish brief contact and inform him of the Tholian plot. The warning comes too late, and the Paladin is disabled in the Tholians' attack. Meanwhile, Shulman escapes and runs Ngo through with a makeshift spear.
Kirk tricks the Recovery into firing on the Skotha and evacuating its many passengers to the Paladin. Lanra and Srillk are killed in the process and Lokara swears vengeance at any cost. Shulman finally begins to reassert his mental control and refuses to abandon the Recovery, but the Tholians convince Recovery to rescue them and their whole ship is beamed aboard. A Klingon bird-of-prey arrives and offers Kirk genuine help, and working together, they trick Recovery into "rescuing" a shuttle laden with tactical drones. The Klingons also send a boarding party to attack the Tholians. Between the internal drone strike and the Tholians' self-destruct, the Recovery is obliterated, and the Klingons actually protect the Paladin from the explosion. Mola and Ngo recover from their injuries and the cadets receive commendations for their courage and valor. Kirk is reinvigorated by life in space and vows not to return to his desk job. Riley accepts an offer to become Ambassador Sarek's aide, and makes peace with Anab.
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|The Lost Years novels|
|The Lost Years • A Flag Full of Stars • Traitor Winds • Recovery|
The Better Man
|TOS numbered novels||Next novel:|
The Fearful Summons
A Flag Full of Stars